A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Why I Hate Victoria…and Other Ruminations

As I have mentioned, I had the distinct pleasure of traveling a lot this past year, and particularly this summer. Back and forth between the coasts, grabbing a little vacation time here and there. One of those vacays took me on a visit to my friend in Canada, Victoria, B.C. to be exact, and though I had been there before, I was suddenly overcome by a distinct melancholy this time. It seemed so normal and pleasant. People there didn’t recognize me, and nobody bothered me. As my friend and I hung out, I realized that he gets to live this way all the time, while I live in a world where I am constantly dealing with other people’s fantasies and neediness and ambition and hopes and stupidity, and working with the movie people, it will only get worse. He isn’t a writer, and he laughs his ass off when I talk about my life in the biz. It’s different there somehow. More real. So now I hate Victoria and all its residents, who don’t have to deal with wannabes and get to be normal. It’s jealousy, plain and simple.

However, I love airports. I do. I love airports because I see all kinds of people just being who they are. You have to be yourself in an airport; the stress of flying, even if you enjoy it, brings out our real Id. If you are a lying pathetic bastard, you will be one on the airplane. A mousy little submissive wife will be a mousy little submissive airline passenger. A passionate ne’er-do-well agent will be a passionate ne’er-do-well first class passenger who smiles widely at pretty flight attendants who keep the liquor coming. A ridiculous, calculating wannabe writer will be a ridiculous, calculating airline passenger who tries to get ahead by putting out the least amount of effort and hoping for the most return.

Another reason I like airports is that they ground me. Not my flight, but me. I see all kinds of beautiful people, families even, where all the members are just beautiful. It reminds me how stupid people are to worship Brad and Angelina and Tom and Katie and all the other supposedly real “beautiful people.” The coverage of the births of their children was nauseating, as reporter, and I use the term loosely, after reporter kept talking about how genetically blessed their kids would be. And then at the airport, I see a family with a gorgeous mom, a handsome dad, and an incredibly adorable tyke. It takes away the sting of going to Victoria because I remember that Brad and Angie aren’t the best we can do. Seriously, I wouldn’t date blowjob lips if you paid me. Or girly boy, either. So, really, how did these two average-looking, average-talented, regular folks get promoted to the model for human perfection? You all know what I am going to say, don’t you? That’s right. I goddamn blame it on the…

WANNABES! The mediocre, mealy-mouth, mind-mushy wannabes.

You are the same people who elected George #2 because he represented, nay, is the epitome of, mediocrity being shoved into success (Lord knows he couldn’t have done it on his own). This is my own personal theory, but the people who voted for #2 were really voting for the grand illusion he represented: That anyone, truly, can be president, even those who don’t invest any time, effort, or money into becoming qualified. Joe Anybody wants to believe that one day he could be president, what with his BA in Mechanical Drain Clearing and his experience as Sunday school teacher, or that his cross-eyed, marginally-talented, semi-literate kid could grow up to be president even though he can’t name the three branches of government and forgot(?) to pay his taxes the last few years. A vote for #2 is a vote for the possibility that you might someday be important. The worst part is that these delusions are fueled not by a desire to help America be the best country it can be, but to become powerful and rich, either directly or indirectly.

Sound familiar, wannabes? It should. You can say that you write because you love it, but ultimately, unless you are handing your work out at the closest flop house without expecting anything in return but a whispered thanks, you are one of millions of people who are looking to become a glorified, overpaid, ego-heavy writah. So don’t get shitty when some guy who has paid thousands of dollars for training and worked for years in the bowels of some publishing house sifting through crap as an assistant editor gets his novel published while you’re still clawing at the underside of the mailroom floor.

The most recent bitch from the wannabe camp is that celebrities are getting published and taking all the open slots from them. How unfair! These celebrities haven’t done anything to deserve a publishing contract! All they have is a name! What about poor little me?

What about you, wannabe? Aren’t you the one out there going to the movies and buying these books? Worshipping celebrities and quasi-celebrities and making them a name brand? Why do publishers and movie executives, who base everything on the bottom line, want someone whose name will pull in money immediately and for a long period of time? Because you dumb fucks are out there buying their shit, that’s why! You’ve created the monsters who are honing in on your action. Who says Pam Anderson marrying Kid Rock is important? The people who buy the rags who show the pics of their wedding. Who says that the nobodies on the reality TV shows are important? The thousands of viewers who tune in to see who will screw whom and which cast member will get voted off. Who dictates that movie stars should get millions of dollars for pretending to be someone else? Not the producers, who would pay them $20 if they could, but the twits who go to see stupid movies with stupid actors and pay through the nose to do so. And who says Janet Jackson’s got a hot body, even though she has boy hips? The idiots that don’t look past the titty-job.

And that, dammit, is why I hate Victoria.

PS Sorry that this is not my typical fare, but it's been a long, hot summer.


  • At 12:24 PM, Blogger AnimeJune said…

    Another knee-jerk reaction: on reading the title of your post, I immediately thought: "Strauss?"

    Nope, just Canada.

  • At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow. I am sooo stoned right now and reading that post was pretty trippy. You gotta hand it to Sammy. He sees through the veil.

  • At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Must admit, I've never spent any time over at AW. Took a look and I'm not surprised most of those folks aren't published. Wannabes does seem to sum it up. There are so many fucking threads about getting a request for a partial from an agent, people screaming and rejoicing over...nothing. They're also bragging about their number of rejections? What the hell?

    And newbie writer gear is being hawked all over the place. Maybe they'd publish if they weren't hanging around AW, huh?

  • At 9:56 AM, Blogger AnimeJune said…

    Some writers (and wannabes, sure) think of rejections as the battle scars of the industry, the idea being, if you've submitted something and gotten a rejection for it, you're in the same boat as every writer in the world, including some of the greats. Stephen King got rejections! Tad Williams got rejections! etc. etc. My mum even wanted to FRAME my first rejection letter.

    Of course, just because people are proud of their rejections does not mean they're wannabes. Of course, it doesn't mean they're NOT wannabes - a ms. rejected because it was submitted on strawberry-scented fluffy-kitten-stationary and written in pink, sparkly ink is not the same as a ms rejected because the it simply wasn't what the agent was looking for at the time.

    Personally, I'd much rather a rejectee rejoiced over a rejection, then sent a letter BACK to agent/editor/publisher bitching about how wrong and money-grubbing and "blind to true genius" they were.

  • At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Where is Marley? I miss her.

  • At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I stumbled across this blog a couple days ago and have read all the posts since last year. It's great.

    Serious question:

    Sammy, could you relay your advice on how to pick up women in the same honest, blunt, and intelligent manner you lay out the truths of publishing?

    It would be great for people to get advice from one of the few people out there who tell it like it is.

  • At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I felt similar when I visited my Dad in Kennesaw, Georgia. There were trees when I looked out the window and the apt. complex had swimming pools(!) In NYC, I have to settle for the view of the next building and my shower. I can aprreciate the "alternative" lifestyle away from the usual pressures. Enjoyed the post.

  • At 4:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    On George II. I think people voted for him, not because they think they could become president, but because he seems like somebody they might "know." Like Joe idiot down the block or Sam the man at the gas station. Like family.

    Me, I didn't vote for him. I know my family is crazy and I don't want any of them in charge.

  • At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If Sammy did relationship advice he'd obliterate Dan Savage.

  • At 2:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Inneresting. I found this blog via Pinter and have just wasted two hours of my life reading your archives. I feel like I should bill you or something. After snorting it all in as a single line, I'm left with the feeling you're an abysmal human being but possibly a great fuck. I agree with the anon who said you should offer up some advice on sports fucking, as that seems to be your greatest skill.

  • At 6:54 AM, Blogger Quooquoo said…

    I LOVE US magazine and all the gossip. I think Brad and Ang are gorgeous. I never voted for Bush in the first place, let alone the second time around.

    I've never been to Victoria.

  • At 7:17 AM, Blogger pundy said…

    Am I right in thinking you're a little unhappy with life at the moment?

  • At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    People with a clue hate Victoria BC Canada for various reasons. Some of the main ones are: lack economic jobs opportunities no matter what your skills and education, slave cheap wages, cold social cliquey attitudes, uptight mentality, passionless society, mentally slow, stupid population. Go and take a look at www.ratemyemployer.ca, www.topix.com, www.yelp.com, www.thedirty.com for the blog comments on Victoria BC. Do your research or get screwed.

  • At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Victoria BC is the asshole of Canada

  • At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Victoria BC Canada is boring, cliquey, cheap, and economically stunted. The people and culture (economy, social, politics, etc) are cold, fake, dopey, passionless, zombies. Read comments on www.ratemyemployer.ca, www.yelp.com, www.topix.com (Victoria BC section), www.thedirty.com. Research or you will be screwed by Greater Victoria!


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